DERC Newsletter

No. 53 Spring 2005

In this issue:

Soft cliffs

Soft cliff

Photo: Bryan Edwards

The DERC team have been working on updating and improving our web-site. The revised version will be up and running in March and will include contacts for local recording schemes and groups. Additions and updates are welcome, so please contact us with new information. There have also been changes to the NBN Gateway at It now has over 17 million species records available which can be viewed as distribution maps, and includes a taxonomy checker (the NBN Species Dictionary maintained by the Natural History Museum).

As I write, the sequel in the Recording Dorset series is about to go to press. Recording Dorset 8 will be available shortly from the DERC office. More details will soon available on this web-site.

2005 already promises some interesting new projects. DERCís involvement in the invertebrates of soft cliffs project has generated much interest and we are keen to encourage local recorders to attend the recording days organised with the Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society and the Dorset Invertebrate Group. We have also arranged several summer workshops, and I hope we shall see many of you there.

Carolyn Steele (Record Centre Manager)

Invertebrates on Soft Cliffs

Cicendela germanica

Cicendela germanica

Photo: Bryan Edwards

Buglife, The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, is undertaking a nation-wide project to assess the invertebrate assemblages of soft cliffs and make recommendations for management and site and species protection. Soft cliffs are those that are actively eroding, and maybe formed of chalk, clays, muds, sands or shales. They are a rare resource nationally but Dorset supports some of the best examples and DERC has been chosen to run a pilot project. DERC will be investigating in detail five sites mapping the vegetation types present and sampling the invertebrate fauna found within them.

DERC will also be holding a series of recording days looking at other soft cliff sites. In partnership with the Dorset Invertebrate Group and the Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society the following dates have been set:

Saturday 25th June

Ware Cliff, west of Lyme Regis
10.00 a.m. Meet in the sea-front car park by the Bowling Green near The Cobb SY336915. There will be a charge for parking.

Saturday 16th July

10.00 a.m. Meet by Bowleaze Cove SY702820, parking on road near the holiday camp.

Saturday 10th September

West Weare, Isle of Portland
10.00 a.m. Meet in small car park (no charge) at Chiswell SY683734.

All workshops are free and open to anyone. However, soft cliffs are dangerous and can be treacherous underfoot. The meetings will only take place if the leaders consider the area stable with good sea and weather conditions. These days are not suitable for children. There is no need to book, but if you would like to register your interest, please contact DERC.

Marine Matters

Narrow-leaved Lungwort (Pulmonaria longifolia)

Mixed red seaweeds in a rockpool
at Osmington

Photo: Peter Tinsley

The winter months saw the completion of an Inventory of Eelgrass Beds in Devon and Dorset 2004. Eelgrass is nationally and internationally an important marine flowering plant found in coastal waters, around the British Isles to about 10m depth. Eelgrass species are protected under the Berne Convention and eelgrass beds are a Priority Habitat with a Habitat Action Plan (HAP).

The Inventory can be used as an aid to those who are or will be involved in managing the coast and tackling issues that threaten it. It also identifies areas where re-surveying may be needed. This Inventory highlights the fact that eelgrass beds are under threat within Dorset and Devon.

Copies are available through DERC as a CD (£15) or paper copy (£30).

Currently our Marine Biodiversity Database holds over 33,000 records. The latest datasets include recent records from the Dorset Seasearch and Dennis Seawardís marine records dating back to 1976.

Danuta Kochanowska

Summer Workshops 2005

The new programme of Summer Workshops has been finalised and can be found on our Workshops page.

Each year DERC run a series of workshops to encourage recording within the county. If you are interested, please book in advance as places are limited. Alterations to the programme may be necessary and final details are sent out before each workshop. There is a small charge for each workshop to help cover administration costs.